24/10/2023 1 min

Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus detected for the first time on cattle farms in southern France

On 6 October 2023, the Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus was detected in ticks of the genus Hyalomma collected from cattle reared in the Pyrénées-Orientales département of France. Santé publique France analysed the situation in collaboration with ANSES, CIRAD, and the Institut Pasteur. In June 2023, ANSES had published an analysis of the risks to human and animal health associated with ticks of the genus Hyalomma in France.

The French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD) has now detected the Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) virus in ticks of the species Hyalomma marginatum collected from cattle in the Pyrénées-Orientales département of France. These initial analyses have been confirmed by the Institut Pasteur’s National Reference Centre (NRC) for viral haemorrhagic fevers, establishing the presence of the virus in France for the first time.

To date, no human cases have been detected in France. Santé publique France is reviewing the risks to the population and issuing recommendations for preventing tick bites for breeders, farmers, hikers, and any other persons likely to frequent places (pastures, garrigue scrubland in particular) where these ticks are found around the Mediterranean. In these geographical areas, ANSES is also calling on hunters to limit contact with blood and body fluids when skinning small mammals, particularly hares (by wearing gloves and a mask).

In its scientific expert appraisal published in June 2023, ANSES confirmed the risk of emergence of CCHF in France and called for the nationwide surveillance of ticks of the genus Hyalomma.